Chapter 2 - Sessions
Written by Ande883
Edited by Cimar
Judy opened her eyes, finding herself no longer in her bedroom. She wasn't even in her apartment anymore. But she couldn't figure out where she was. The entire world around her was black.
She sat up and tried to understand what was going on. Her memory was fuzzy making it hard to figure that out.
She turned around, her ears detecting the slightest of sounds from behind her. But once again, she saw nothing. No movement, no color; just an empty void. She frowned and kept thinking, doing everything in her power to understand the situation she was in. But it was no use. Thinking was all she could do, and it wasn't doing anything.
She heard it again, but this time louder and more recognizable. Before, it was completely unrecognizable, but now she thought the sound was a voice, and one that was familiar at that.
Judy stood up and turned her whole body towards the direction of the sound. She focused on the one spot where she thought she heard it coming from. Nothing.
"Hello?" she asked, but her words fell upon nothing. She was just imagining those sounds from behind her
"Right here," the voice said, this time as close as it could possibly be. Judy was startled by the sound, frozen in place by its proximity. Judy, with a frown on her face, turned around slowly to meet possibly the one sight she did not want to see.
It was the therapist.
"That's it. Now you're starting to figure those ears out," he said with that infuriatingly alluring smirk that he'd shown her the night of the wedding. His clothes were all the same terrible color combinations, but this time a yellow shirt with a blue and orange tie. Still as hideous as she remembered.
"What do you want?" Judy asked spitefully.
"It's been a while, Ms. Hopps. Have you figured life out by yourself, or are you just ignoring me?"
Judy stared at him, confused as to how he'd managed to get into her dreams. She didn't say anything. There was nothing that she needed to say. All he did was continue to stare down at her with that infuriating smirk and half-lidded eyes.
"What I said still stands. Think about it."
Suddenly, the fox seemed to dissolve into the air, his entire form becoming like a mist and disappearing. Judy felt herself running after him, but ultimately, was left alone in the darkness once again. A feeling of loneliness like she'd never felt before was all she knew until she started hearing more sounds. An alarm clock, cars honking on the street below, and then the darkness lifted and the late morning sun shone through her closed eyelids.
Judy finally opened her eyes, using her paw to shield them from the harshness of the sun. For the first time in a while, Judy woke up and didn't feel tired. It was welcomed, but she felt like she wanted to go out and do something before she went to work. She had energy, which was a rarity in recent times.
Two weeks had gone by since she talked to that creep of a fox. His words hadn't left her mind for a second; she almost felt herself dwelling on his words more often than not, even while she was at work.
Work was almost getting worse. She knew that some things were how you saw them to be, but there was nothing redeeming about her job. It was exhausting, low-paying, and involved the most selfish type of person ever: Customers. She had an undying hatred of customers. They didn't seem to understand that things take time and that they could run out of food sometimes. Complaints were usually without any real substance; they weren't logical to complain about.
"Look at how far that's gotten you..."
There was a certain resonance that she couldn't really explain from those words. It was too creepy how true they were. She'd never met him before and yet he seemed to know everything that she'd dealt with. It angered her. Judy didn't want to be read like a book, but he made it look so easy. Maybe she was just that obvious about how she felt, but if she was, then she really must not have cared to feel any better. Maybe she didn't try to be happy.
Despite how she was adamant to not go and see him again, she kept the card on her desk. She looked at it every day when she got ready for work. Judy looked at it again when she got out of bed and threw on a tight athletic shirt and a pair of leggings. She grabbed her headphones and her old music player and ran out the door.
Long ago, Judy had been quite the athlete. In high school, she was a cross country runner, and one of the best in the Tri-Burrows. Even to this day, she still enjoyed getting out and stretching her legs for a while. Taking a few minutes to literally stretch her legs and the rest of her body, she set out, no particular destination in mind. As far as she was concerned, she might be running until she had to go to work. There was nothing else that she wanted to do right now.
Judy always felt like running was an escape. It actually did make her feel better, but only when she was actually doing it. All she could feel was the burning in her lungs and the beating of her heart. It was rhythmic as she passed by the few that wandered the sidewalks at this time of day. Most mammals were at work. She was just beginning her day.
Judy didn't keep track of how far she went. The distance didn't matter to her. She also didn't realize that her mind was telling her to go some place in particular.
She watched the sights of the city pass by her in a blur as she continued down the sidewalk, she felt a break coming. Her breathing was quick and her legs burned. She didn't know how long she'd been going, but it was probably time for a quick breather. Judy came to a stop in front of a much older building on the corner of the street. She placed her paw on its weathered brick surface to brace herself as she stretched her legs again. Her eyes looked around her, finding nothing familiar about the place she was in, but a strange dread that she'd just done something incredibly stupid.
"So, you're a runner, too?" an infuriatingly familiar voice said.
Judy looked up, seeing a fox in a disgusting combination of colors. Green, purple, blue, and that interesting red fur color. How had she managed to get herself here?
"What are you doing here? Have you been following me?" she asked amidst breaths. The fox shook his head.
"No, ma'am. I have a feeling you might want to look at the building you happen to be leaning on."
Judy looked up, seeing a sign hanging above the door that read: "Wilde Psychotherapy"
"Come on in, I have cold water for you," Nick said as he gestured for her to walk inside with him. Judy hesitated, but she decided that a little bit of water wouldn't hurt. She wasn't staying for long.
Judy walked up the stairs of the old building and through the front door. Based on the outside, she was expecting the inside to be as old and weathered. She was proven wrong when she saw some very nice, but old furniture. It was comforting, almost reminding her of home.
Judy walked further into the room. Bookshelves lined the walls and a couple of couches sat in the middle of the room with small end tables at their sides. A large staircase was on the left side of the room, where it led, a mystery. It was quaint. She hated to say that she really liked it.
Judy looked to her left where Nick was currently pouring her a glass of cold water from a dispenser that looked very out of place. "I'm glad that you finally decided to show up. I was beginning to wonder about you," he said while he handed her the small foam cup.
Judy gladly took it and gently sipped from it. "I wouldn't say that. I just happened to be running by."
"And you also just happened to stop and rest right next to my building? I'd say your mind had other plans, Ms. Hopps. You need this more than you think you do."
"Why would I ever want to tell a stranger how I feel?"
"Because you know that it's zero risk," he said without so much as a bit of hesitation. "I don't know you, and you don't know me. There will be no room for judgment in here. That's not my job. Now, I don't know what you've been through, but I've heard plenty of things from my other patients. I can guarantee that whatever it is that's bothering you can be fixed. The only way things will get fixed is if you open up. My job is to help a mammal in need. You need this more than you think you do."
A sigh of understanding was released from Judy's mouth as she stared down at the floor. Her mind was all over the place, stuck between whether she should trust him or run out of the building and away from this creep. She took a single step forward, feeling her mind gravitate towards the former. As he said it, it was zero risk. It would cost her only her time. No judgment. No money. Just the chance to improve her quality of life.
"I don't need this," Judy said defiantly, taking one final step forward, bringing her only a few inches from the fox. She grabbed a hold of his tie and pulled him closer to her own muzzle. "I want this."
The look on Nick's face after she grabbed his tie was that of complete bewilderment. After she released him, he put back on his usual infuriating grin. Adjusting the tie, he turned around and walked towards the staircase. Stopping at its base, Nick turned around and grinned at Judy.
"I thought you said you wanted this? Coming or not, Carrots?" Judy nodded and followed him up the stairs.
"I would think you'd know better than to call me, Carrots. Not very professional, don't you think?" she jabbed as they ascended the stairs. Coming to a choice between two doors, Nick opened the one on the right, rather than the one right in front of them. The door led to a room that was much like the floor below them, only no bookshelves lined the walls. What she saw was perhaps the most comforting room she'd ever seen.
Everything was designed with class, from the many paintings that hung from the walls to the extravagance of the wood molding. A single chair sat in front of a larger couch, and a large window in the far back wall was covered by elegant curtains. Nick offered the couch to Judy, who sat without question. Nick took the chair and sat with one foot propped up on the other knee.
"I don't know if you can tell, but professionalism isn't my forté. I believe it creates unnecessary tension, especially when dealing with the mind and how it works. Many individuals are uncomfortable with the fact that they have to do this; you are the perfect example. A relaxing and unrestricted environment promotes freedom. It helps my patients to open up a lot more."
"But the nickname… it's a little bit—"
"Insensitive? Perhaps, but I also believe that, as doctor and patient, we need to harbor a bond akin to that of friendship. Friends are those that you tell everything to. It's that type of relationship that we need to achieve quickly, otherwise these sessions tend to… be useless. Joking around with each other is a great way to quicken that bonding process."
"It makes us more familiar with each other."
"Exactly. Now, if we are going to begin, I want to know everything. The way that I've found this to work best is if we start from the very beginning and look at every incident that could have possibly contributed to the way you feel now. Does anything come to mind?"
Judy thought back to her childhood. Growing up in Bunnyburrow, so many good memories came to her. Helping her dad out in the fields. Learning how to sew from her mother. Playing with her siblings on a hot summer day. The Carrot Days festival at the beginning of every planting season.
"Well, when I was nine, there was this bully named Gideon…"
Judy walked into the diner, her fresh and clean uniform on and a particularly interesting skip to her step. Everything should have felt like the world was going to end the moment she walked in, as the diner was packed and she could tell that many of the patrons were not happy with the wait for seating. Kristie was currently in the back preparing a tray that contained several plates of entrees. The brown bunny turned around right as Judy was punching in, beginning her work day.
"You seem different. What's going on?" she asked curiously. Judy looked at her friend with a rare smile.
"I don't know. I just feel great, Kris." Kristie did her best to stifle her excitement as she patted Judy on the shoulders and sneaked past her.
"Keep wearing that smile. You look a lot better with it."